It's pretty clear to everyone with a brain that the administration is going to scapegoat Michael Brown (the FEMA director who apparently waited until after Katrina struck to ask for Homeland Security workers to be dispatched), given that the info in this AP article (via Josh) must have been leaked by someone in the administration:
The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000workers to support rescuers in the region — and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.
Michael Brown, director of the, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims.
Before then, FEMA had positioned smaller rescue and communications teams across the Gulf Coast. But officials acknowledged Tuesday the first department-wide appeal for help came only as the storm raged.
Given that Brown is, of course, a totally incompetent political appointee with no background in what he's supposed to be doing, it seems like blaming him for a lot things is warranted, and of course he deserves to be fired and humiliated and all that.
But my real question is this: why was he appointed in the first place?
That's a serious question: I have a hard time believing that any administration could be so careless in appointing someone with no experience to such an important position.
Sure, there are a lot of political appointees in every administration, and we all know that cronyism is particularly rampant in this one. But I've been assuming that the administration is merely callous and indifferent, not that it actually wants people to die in a catastrophic natural disaster.
You'd think that someone in the administration might have thought that there was a real problem in appointing an unqualified person to a position that is so uniquely responsible for protecting the lives of American citizens. Surely there was some guy shut up in an West Wing office somewhere that looked at Brown's FBI file, stopped thinking about repealing the estate tax for a second, and said to himself, "whoa, this guy isn't qualified for this position! Maybe we should get someone who is. If there's a natural disaster a lot of Americans could lose their lives if we don't get someone who's minimally qualified."
I mean, I'm assuming there was one guy like that. Right?